The Beijinger does a stellar job setting forth the current state of China visas in China Visa – Facts and Fiction. Highlights from the post’s “What We know for sure” section are as follows:
1. L (tourist) visas require documents showing your “outbound and return flight booking and stamped (chopped) hotel reservation for the complete duration of stay. If staying at a relative’s house, proof of kinship (marriage / birth certificate) and copies of his/her passport, visa, residence permit and police registration need to be provided.”
2. F (business) visas require “flight booking, stamped (chopped) hotel reservation and original invitation letter from a relevant department of the Chinese government, company or institution, under the authorization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China.”
3. L and F visas are being issued as single entry 30 day visas unless “your flight bookings (e.g. to Hong Kong) are provided to prove double entry is needed. “To obtain a visa for a longer duration, a full travel itinerary needs to be provided. The visa application form has been changed to a much more detailed version.”
4. F visa extensions “in China are only possible until June 30th, 2008.”
5. Hong Kong is no longer much of a solution as “the Visa office in Hong Kong requests all foreign passport holders that do not have a Hong Kong residence permit to apply for visas in their respective home country” and “Visa applications in other Asian countries seem to be just as difficult.” “A list of 33 countries whose nationals need to apply for visa in their respective home country has been published; however, restrictions also seem to apply to other nationals.”
6. Z visas(work) “have not been affected by the new policies.”
7. “The authorities are increasingly tracking down foreigners without valid visas and Registrations of Temporary Residence. Foreigners overstaying their visas are charged any where between RMB 500 to RMB 5,000/day. According to multiple reports, foreigners without a valid visa must expect to be awarded the red “has to leave China within ten days” stamp in their passport, which will make it nearly impossible to apply for a new visa.”
The above gibes with what our China lawyers based in China are hearing. See also, China Visa Certainty: Z (employee) Visas Are Z Best.
I discussed visa issues just last night with co-blogger Steve Dickinson, who has an article on this due out soon for the China Economic Review. Based on his conversations with Chinese lawyers and with Chinese government officials, Steve is of the view that this visa tightening is permanent and will not end after the Olympics.
What are you seeing out there?